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3.9 out of 5 stars
3.9 out of 5 stars

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on 5 November 2004
This is an excellent documentary. For anyone curious about how the highest rated chess player in history Garry Kasparov is in real life, this is highly recommended. It won't be very easy viewing for Kasparov fans though because there is forever the air of injustice against him throughout the documentary. Kasparov, and much of the chess world, thought that IBM had cheated in their 1997 match with Deep Blue VS Kasparov. After watching the documentary I could bullet about 20 points that made me suspicious of the Deep Blue team. My personal opinion is that the Deep Blue team did cheat, though anyone watching the film will have to decide for themselves.
The film is very nicely shot and has an uneasy musical score that suits the atmosphere of the film. There are interviews with many employees of IBM - such as the man who designed the chess chip used in Deep Blue - with chess players such as Yasser Seirawan, with friends of the chess community such as Fred Friedel, and of course Kasparov is interviewed throughout the film, so all this makes for a highly entertaining documentary for chess fans.
In addition to the film itself, this DVD comes with Fritz 6. This is an excellent addition to the DVD and really makes it a double package, half film/half chess engine. The only problem I have had with Fritz 6 is that when using the Fritz server to play online I had forgotten my password and the for password retrieval there is a command button specifically for this purpose, and it simply does not work, meaning I cannot play online with a real username and have to be a guest if I use that server. But Fritz 6 is a great chess engine to have with loads of features and is excellent for analysing games.
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Forget James Cameron's The Terminator, the greatest demonstration of man against machine was the 1997 chess contest between Garry Kasparov (the greatest ever chess player) and IBM's "Deep Blue" computer which was designed and built specifically to beat the chess Grand Master.

It's a well known story, a year after defeating the Deep Blue computer in 1996 a rematch was held and Kasparov failed the beat the machine. Controversy surrounds the match as many suspect that the machine seemed too aware and played like a human at times (particularly the second of the 6 matches). This is a documentary film which uses archive footage and interviews with those involved in the tournament to chronicle the events and accusations of the time.

Kasparov often speaks often good humour about his defeat but he is obviously still pained by the event and half-jokingly refers to the location of the match as "the scene of the crime". Kasparov gets the most screen time as you'd expect, sometimes as the subject giving a retrospective account of how he felt and also through footage of him throughout his career. Interviews with some of the IBM guys help to give a human face to the black box at the centre of the storm. Again they come across quite warmly and help to deflect the cold emotionless image you tend to get of large corporations.

The film has received criticism for its lack of objectivity, and there does tend to be a bias towards Kasparov. In a way this is to be expected as the footage of the tournament audience and interviews with those involved in the chess scene are semi-worshipers of Kasparov who was the spiritual head of the game for many years. He's also provides the human factor; whereas Deep Blue is simply a black box, Kasparov is an emotional man who is clearly upset and stressed at times when he stands on stage and tries to hold back his anger or when he sits at the chessboard with his head in his hands. In short, he makes a great goodie to the unfeeling Deep blue baddie!

The documentary makes interesting points about the bigger view of this chess game, it delves into the philosophical questions asked as a result of the event. Humans have had the monopoly on intelligence for millennia and technology has started to threaten it. The speed of computer development has been exponential and Kasparov V Deep Blue was symbolic of the concerns over human intellectual dominance being threatened by the microchip and super-processors. Grand claims are heard: "the future of humanity is on the line".

In a nutshell: A great documentary which may seem to favour the chess master rather than the IBM computer but the bias doesn't seem too out of balance and the IBM guys certainly don't come across as cheats and the conspiracy theories aren't presented as fact. Also, to be fair the human story of the contest is the most interesting and it's natural to empathise more with Kasparov. The film is perhaps guilty of not probing hard enough in order to get answers to questions which still surround the match but it does provide a thorough account of events and introduces the idea that this was beyond simply being a hyped competition - Kasparov himself said the match was more than a game of chess, he represented man against the machine.
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'Game Over' is an excellent documentary of the Kasparov-Deep Blue match of 1997. It has interviews and contributions from both IBM and Kasparov and looks at each game played and reactions to them. It is very insightful to see how each side felt about the match and although fairly even handed, there is a slight bias against IBM with a strong intimation of suspicious behaviour. The constant use of 'The Turk' chess game by the director casts deep aspersions on IBM's integrity and suggests cheating and human intervention by them. The footage from news reports and the match itself really add to the feel of the film. This also looks briefly at Kasparov's career since the Deep Blue match. This is a engaging documentary, of limited appeal to those not interested in chess, but invaluable for those that are. You can normally snap this up cheaply on amazon and it is well worth a viewing.

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on 23 May 2004
Garry Kasparov is generally regarded as the greatest chess player of all time and this excellent film examines his 1997 duel with IBM's purpose-built chess playing machine Deep Blue.
The stress of playing a silicon opponent who doesn't get tired, distracted or upset if it loses weighs heavily on Kasparov. Under the glare of the world's media the film shows how his initial enthusiasm for the contest as a 'scientific experiment' quickly fades when he loses a game and begins to suspect that behind IBM's locked doors Deep Blue is receiving human assistance.
You don't need to know how to play chess to appreciate this study in psychological warfare as IBM deny Kasparov information about the computer and his paranoia about the true nature of his opponent grows. Kasparov once described chess as 'mental torture' and there is no doubt that he experienced just that during the match.
So, were IBM playing by the rules or were they prepared to win at any cost? Watch the film and decide for yourself...
The DVD also features a fully functioning chess program - Fritz 6 - which can be downloaded onto your PC (compatible with Windows 98, 2000 or XP).
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on 16 June 2004
If you start losing in a casino, perhaps more than you can afford, it's tempting to fall for the debt-recovery strategy: "I'll bet just enough on this game to cover all my losses. If I lose, I'll repeat this tactic. If I win, I'll stop playing and walk away."
IBM followed this strategy in its matches with Kasparov. First time it lost. Kasparov agreed a re-match when IBM requested it. IBM's Deep Blue won the second match. Now it was Kasparov's turn to ask for a re-match. But IBM refused.
For a long time, there's been this question hanging in the air: Why did IBM turn down Kasparov's request? And why, having won, didn't IBM go on to sell its victorious chess-playing programme on the consumer market -- if not the Unix version, then a slimmed-down version which would run on PCs? Why did IBM mothball Deep Blue and halt all chess research as soon as it had won?
This film provides one explanation -- that after Game One, IBM introduced human contributions to Deep Blue's thought processes. Kasparov never won another game against it. This film doesn't take a position on this allegation. (For example, a serious investigation would have tried to find out which grandmaster it could possibly have been who provided that human contribution.)
The usual explanation is that IBM saw no publicity advantage in staging another re-match. And as for the marketing question, well IBM just doesn't really target the consumer market.
Slightly short of actual footage from the 1997 match -- there are, for example, no clips from IBM CEO Gerstner's gloating press conference -- this 84-minute documentary intercuts video images from the match with scenes of present-day Kasparov wandering around his old haunts, together with short clips of the chess-playing 'Turk' automaton which concealed a very competent midget a couple of centuries ago.
This documentary is as much about the impact on Kasparov today as about the IBM computer. It has been observed (although not in this movie) that Kasparov is still so obsessed with his loss to Deep Blue that he now plays against human opponents as if they are computers. He just can't quite recapture the old brilliance, although his ELO rating is still stratospheric.
I'm not sure how many times I would care to watch this again, although the production values and background music (somewhat similar to Cliff Martinez's work for 'Traffic') are attractive. (For me, the best chess programmes/films were BBC2's 'Master Game' series from the mid-1970s. Is it too much to hope that these great programmes, which feature Korchnoi, Hort, Miles, Nunn and (like this movie, Anatoly Karpov, will appear on DVD?)
Anyway, enjoy this DVD while you can. You can't get it in the States. Draw your own conclusions about who might have suppressed it there.
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on 26 December 2011
I was rather disappointed with this. If you want some good background to the match, and some interesting words from Kasparov, it's fine, though why shots of the Turk machine of long ago have to keep appearing escapes me. But I bought it hoping to see some of the games, and to find out more about the actual programming used, and neither received any real coverage. Fine as a sort of social document, but not much there if your real interest is chess.
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on 10 July 2004
Excellent insight into the 1997 computer match with deep blue, not much actual footage of the games, more an insight into how computers evolved playing chess, the ibm company and how gary got into his mind that the match was being played on not a level playing field. The 1996 match was a friendly match , computer science experiment, the 1997 was a deathmatch in which ibm had to win at all coats. They eventually pushed gary over the edge and he lost without a fight in game 6 going down to the computer overall in the match, excellent dvd if you like chess, computer chess or kasparov in general this is a must have. buy it now
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on 7 September 2010
The subject of the documentary is an engrossing one. However, i feel you have to be a keen chess follower to find it interesting.

By the end of the documentary I had alot of sympathy for Kasparov. His paranoia could have been easily remedied by IBM, but they chose to feed off it. A friendly rematch? I think not! See what you think.

From a technical point of view, I think the documentary was of poor quality. The sound quality was poor requiring constant adjustment of the volume, especially when one narrator was whispering. The narration was all over the place and lacked emphasis on the important points. I think a non-chess fan would miss the interesting points and find it boring. If you concentrate, you can probably see past this.
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on 24 January 2014
The documental does not only offer good background on Kasparov, but shares Gary's views on the match, exposing IBM as an cheat, trying to win at all cost for the benefit of their PR. The did a good business with Kasparov...
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on 27 October 2004
This was a very interesting DVD and definately deserves to be watched by anyone interested in chess, or the famous Kasparov and Deep Blue games.
The DVD covers the rematch of Kasparov vs. Deep Blue and the conspiricies which were underlying the hole match.
There are many interviews both defending and attacking the accusations made against IBM with little bias towards either side being shown.
I will not make any opinions here but let you watch the DVD, do a little personal research and come up with your own opinions. Either way, there were a lot of strange things occuring over the matches.
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